Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, has faulted the country’s leadership for not doing enough to address the underlying issues fanning insecurity and disunity in the country.
In his 60th Independence anniversary message to Nigerians on Saturday, September 26, tagged ‘Not Yet Uhuru For Nigeria At 60’, the cleric who called for thanks to God for not having the nation divide despite numerous challenges, lamented that successive leadership has not done well to foster a deep sense of patriotism and unity amongst the various nationalities that make up the country.
He noted that it was shameful that 60 years after gaining independence from the British, the country was yet to get its acts together; we still lack the quality leadership needed to guide the country in the path of peaceful coexistence, economic prosperity and security of life and property.
He stated in the statement signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu,”We thank God that we are alive to mark the Diamond Jubilee of our country’s independence. We are an independent country still searching for how to become a nation where no one is oppressed, and everyone feels a sense of belonging.
“In spite of all odds we have survived for 60 years and so we must thank God and praise the resilience of Nigerians. However, this year of our Diamond Jubilee has turned out to be one of the most challenging for most Nigerians.
“We were still battling with the effects of insecurities in the land when COVID-19 struck and made life impossible for those who lost their jobs and sources of livelihood. To make life even more impossible, there was an increase in the rate of VAT only to be followed by the imposition of stamp duty on house rent and Certificates of Occupancy.”
Continuing the Archbishop called on civil groups, concerned individuals and groups to take steps in addressing the situation and bring respite to affected Nigerians.
He thereby stated, “The dust raised by that had hardly settled when we were slapped with an increase in electricity tariffs which was followed a couple of weeks later by an increase in the pump price of petrol.
“Life is becoming harder and harder for the majority of Nigerians and the government needs to take radical steps to ease the burdens they are carrying. Everyone, led by Civil Society Organisations and NGOs and the Labour movement, needs to do something in their areas of competences in order to bring the suffering of people home to the government.
“If people must bear the burdens of the day, the government must also show good faith by cutting down on the cost of governance.”
The Archbishop also reiterated his call for a major restructuring of the country along the path of true federalism in order to give the various ethnic groups sense of belonging.
He as well called on all citizens to pray for the nation and rulers to free the nation of oppression and disunity.
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